1st & 2nd Temples Destroyed on 9th of Av: May Noahides Fast?

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Question: Is it alright for a Noahide to fast on Tisha B’Av?

Background: “Tisha B’Av” is the 9th (Tisha) of the Hebrew month of Menachem Av, when Jews observe total fasting. This lasts for about 24 hours and 40 minutes, as part of their traditional day of mourning. It is the anniversary of the destruction of both the first and the second Holy Temples in Jerusalem. (If the 9th starts on a Friday evening, the fast is pushed off 24 hours, and starts on Saturday night). In 20’22, Tisha B’Av falls on Friday evening, August 6, so the fast begins on Saturday night. The 17th of Tammuz, the date when the Romans broke through Jerusalem’s wall, is a daytime fast for Jews.  The 9th of Av comes three weeks later.

Answer

The Western Wall Rabbi Moshe Weiner, author of The Divine Code (and Sheva Mitzvot HaShem in Hebrew) has this teaching for Gentiles / Noahides. The point upon which an individual Noahide could justify fasting on those days is that he is mourning the temporary (but far too long) destruction of the Holy Temple, and the exile of the Divine Presence from being revealed in the world. Since this mourning is a permitted activity, it depends on his intention.

A Noahide should not make a full observance of fasting along with all the other Jewish precepts of Tisha B’Av.  That would be making a ritual memorial day for himself, which is like innovating a religious observance, which is forbidden.

However, in this final generation of spiritual exile (which will be the first generation of the Messianic Era), people are not nearly as physically strong as they used to be. Therefore, it is recommended that fasting should be minimized (e.g. by lighter and/or shorter fasting), if done at all, for those who are not obligated. Certainly a Noahide who has a medical problem should not fast if there is any health risk involved, or he should consult with his doctor as to what he can safely do.

Don’t weaken your efforts for “yishuv olom”

Furthermore, the continuous obligation of Noahides is “yishuv olom,” improving the condition of the world. If one is weakened by fasting, he might fall short in what could have accomplished that day for yishuv olom. Also, if fasting causes one to become irritable, short-tempered or prideful, there could be an actual bad effect. That is the opposite of what needs to be accomplished! In our days, it is very acceptable to substitute non-obligatory fasting with donations to proper charities (the value of at least one normal meal is suggested). Recommended charities are those which are consistent with Torah-true principles and yishuv olom. Also, the main practical intention is not for fasting, but for repentance.

Therefore, you can certainly increase in deeds of goodness and kindness for others, especially in giving donations to proper charities (i.e., which are not in conflict with Torah laws or morals).

Certainly a Noahide is encouraged to pray as often as he wishes that the Third Holy Temple shall be established by the true Messiah, from the dynasty of King David (“Moshiach ben David”), very speedily in our days.

Audio recordings, traditional readings, and more information

– The “Three Weeks” https://asknoah.org/audio/the-three-weeks

– Destruction of the 2nd Holy Temple https://asknoah.org/audio/destruction-of-the-2nd-holy-temple

Traditional readings for Tish’a B’Av from the Tanach (Hebrew Bible) are:

– the Book of Lamentations, written by Jeremiah (it very appropriate for a Noahide to read the Book of Lamentations on the night and/or day when the fast of Tisha B’Av is observed)

– the Book of Job (written by Moses, according to main opinion in the Talmud)

Ask Noah Forum page on Tishe B’Av: https://www.asknoah.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=55

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